Weddings are more expensive than ever, but they don't need to be
The expected cost of a wedding makes many people resentful toward the idea of marriage, but the ceremony doesn't have to be a costly affair.
According to top wedding website TheKnot.com, the cost of the average American wedding is now $30,000. With 70 percent of college graduates having an average of $29,000 in student loan debt, according to CNN, the added cost of an extravagant wedding can be daunting for young couples.
For those couples who choose to go ahead and get married, they face social pressure to have a large and entertaining party.
Huffington Post reported: "Couples are more focused than ever on creating a unique, personalized and once-in-a-lifetime experience for their guests — plus they're doing so in a modern way, by planning from their smartphones, publicizing details on social media and more," Carley Roney, co-founder of The Knot, said in a statement.
The media is partly to blame for the bloated wedding price, according to Deseret News.
“Every time some pop star gets married and it’s all over the cover of People Magazine, it inspires more girls to have destination weddings," said Sandy Malone, a destination wedding planner. "Just like little girls emulate what they see, so do young women who are watching the stars.”
Guests are also beginning to dread attending weddings because of the high expected costs, according to MarketWatch. The article referenced an American Express survey that found "this year, guests are expected to spend an average of $592 per wedding, up 10 percent from $539 per wedding last year and a 75 percent jump in just two years."
Being a member of a wedding party, which was once considered an honor, is becoming more of a burden, Financial Post reported.
"Julianne Taskey, a 31-year-old Toronto resident who works in fundraising has been in six wedding parties; she spends about $1,000 to fulfill her bridal party duties," the report stated.
While Taskey may be an extreme example, pressure for the couple to put on a lavish show for their friends and relatives and pressure for the guests to prove their affection by buying expensive presents and paying their own way to a huge destination wedding create a vicious circle. What if we collectively decided to say no more?
"Weddings are not expensive. Whims are expensive," wrote Albert Burneko of The Concourse. "'Wedding, A' is not some discrete thing that you buy, but rather an agglomeration of discrete things that you heap or do not heap, entirely of your own volition, onto the performance of a fairly simple ceremony."
Rachel Lu, a writer for The Federalist, has proposed what she calls the "cubic zirconia principle:" Instead of creating a magical and completely original wedding, which are generally more expensive, it should be acceptable to hold a simple and traditional ceremony. It should be socially acceptable to get a cubic zirconium ring instead of a diamond.
"In order to make this work, it’s not just bridal couples who have to be reasonable. It’s guests, too," Lu continues.
She suggested that guests not expect to be treated to a banquet at the reception, and to refrain from making critical comments of the wedding or the couple.
"In the long run," she says, "it doesn’t matter that much what flavor the cake is, or whether the bridesmaids’ dresses make their ankles look puffy," she said. "Celebrate love. Give the bridal couple a good 'welcome to adult life' sendoff."
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